War on Waste: January - March 2024

If you thought this year would be a turning point for the public sector, think again. The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s war on waste campaign is having to be as active as ever, identifying  wasteful spending left, right, and centre. 


For our first discovery of the year, the spotlight shone on Castle Point. This council paid out £143,000 to the estate of its late chief executive. This hidden payout was found after the council auditors refused to sign off on the council’s accounts. The lack of transparency highlights the council's poor decision-making, as residents are still waiting for an explanation of how, when or why this payment was made. Read more here.


Following suit, we have uncovered that there are 837 non-clinical members of staff on the highest paid band 9 contracts, with six figure salaries. One of these job titles was ‘director of people and transformation’, earning £153,545. It’s a pretty hard pill to swallow, considering the average pay of a nurse is £37,000, and taxpayers are having to cough up more money on a health service that they struggle to access at the best of times. NHS record high funding should be used more efficiently. Read more here.


Now, onto virtue signalling expenditure.


Bankrupt councils across the UK have spent over half a million pounds creating gender-neutral toilets since 2020. In this particular TPA investigation, we found that not only are councils eroding single-sex spaces, but they are also putting ideology above the interests of residents and employees. The Times rightfully pointed out that Arun council spent nearly £400,000 building 14 unisex cubicles even when residents raised concerns over the lack of female spaces and that the council were not considering the safety of women. 


In the same mentality of ‘we know best’, Transport for London spent millions of pounds on pointless posters for the underground. After numerous bailouts and funding injections, London’s transport bosses should have learned their lesson. Alas, our investigation uncovered a total spend of £4.5 million on posters to nanny London’s commuters. We’re told, for example, to “use the lift with luggage and buggies.” Thanks, mum. Transport bosses should focus less on preaching and more on punctuality. TFL has bigger service issues at hand. Read the full write-up here.


As seen on a Daily Mail front page, our EDI investigation into councils proved to be illuminating. Over three years, UK councils have spent over £52 million on equality, diversity and inclusion roles. Jeremy Hunt has pledged to make the public sector more efficient - this could be a good starting point. Councils all over the UK are raising council tax by maximum amounts, and council debt is skyrocketing. Something has to be done; councils need to ditch diversity schemes and focus on the things that really matter. 


Rounding off, the TPA has revealed that even four years later, the memory and cost of COVID remains strong. Councils during the pandemic spent money creating social distancing approved ‘parklets’. These were benches constructed on existing parking spaces and were advertised to be temporary structures to aid the progression back to social spaces after COVID-19. Some councils have decided to keep them in place at an extraordinary cost to taxpayers. UK authorities have spent nearly £5 million on their construction and maintenance. In the midst of soaring council tax rates, is this really the best use of taxpayer money? Let’s let COVID be a distant memory, not something we are still paying for. More details here.


In all these areas of waste, the same themes crop up: frivolous decision-making, a lack of transparency, and a commitment to the woke agenda. Rest assured, we are all left questioning whether the public sector will ever turn its attention to frontline services instead of superfluous advantages and cosmetic projects. 


If there are any other examples of public sector waste that you would like me to turn my attention towards, email me at [email protected]

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